Thursday, 20 September 2012

Junior and the Meerkat


Readers in the UK will see the word 'meerkat' with my photo, and say 'simples!'

For the benefit of readers elsewhere, allow me to give some background.

There is a comparison website, imaginatively called Their television ads feature a family of meerkats, speaking in fake Russian/Eastern European accents, who are famous for bemoaning the confusion of customers who are looking for 'Compare the Market dot com; Compare the Meerkat dot com. Simples!'

In December, just before Junior was born, S used to renew our insurance. As a thank you/promotion, they sent him this Vassily plush toy. One of my work colleagues had sold his Aleksandr plush toy for £60 on ebay, so S saved it, thinking he could make a bit of cash. As it turned out, the market for Vassily meerkats was not as lucrative, so poor old V has been sitting on our table for nine months now.

Junior can see the meerkat over my shoulder when I am holding him on the sofa; he can see it when S is holding him at the table; he can see it when he is sitting in his high chair; he can see it from across the room when he is playing on the floor.

He has been fascinated with the meerkat, almost from Day One.

Since it is not exactly a baby-friendly toy (and S was trying to sell it on ebay), we never took it out of its packaging, and Junior has not been able to play with it.

Yesterday, Junior was fussing in his high chair while I tried to give him breakfast. I noticed that he was looking at the meerkat, so I reached over, moved its head like a puppet, and started talking to him in the fake accent.

'Junior, why do you no eat your breakfast? Mummy has made nice food for you. Eat. Simples!'

Junior started laughing, so I kept doing it.

'You eat breakfast, you grow up big and strong. Is most important meal of day. You must eat. Simples!'

This went on for a few minutes, but he was too busy laughing to eat at that point. I took him out of the high chair, brought the dishes to the kitchen, and started cleaning up. Then I noticed that he was pulling up on the table, trying to get closer.


I abandoned the dishes, and brought the meerkat down to him. 'Hello, Junior. I touch your nose with my nose. Beep!'

He flinched, and his laughter changed. I did it again. He moved back. Then he started to cry. And laugh. And cry. He held out a tentative hand to stroke the meerkat, but pulled back at the point of contact. He started crying harder.

Finally, I gave up and went to change his nappy. Out of nowhere, he started howling. The most hysterical, frightened cry I have ever heard him make. I managed to change him, then brought him back to the living room. As soon as he saw it, he started crying again. I had to breastfeed him to calm him down. It happened again at dinner.

We don't know how or why, but the meerkat has affected him. We moved it to the hallway (where he has little chance of ever seeing it), and I didn't bother feeding him breakfast in his high chair this morning. We still don't know if he likes it or fears it, but he has not reacted like this to anything else in his short life. Knowing my lifelong phobia of snakes, I am inclined not to push it.


Wednesday, 12 September 2012

9 months

Junior is nine months old, and in a few short days, he will have been outside longer than he was inside. He continues to thrive and grow, and we spent much of the past month playing. With nearly boundless energy and increasing mobility, he has been exploring various parks, play centres, and our flat. We started the month by buying him some shoes for outdoor play.






I also assembled his walker/trolley, so that he can begin to practice walking.


It soon became apparent that he needed more space.

This is what happens while Mum is in the kitchen cutting a kiwi fruit for lunch!

So we went outside to the driveway. He soon ditched the walker when he discovered that he could reach the plants faster by crawling.


We started frequenting Eddie Catz, the local softplay centre, and have been going at least once a week (I'm determined to get good value from our 6-month membership, and he enjoys it there.)






We also tried Beanies Cafe in Croydon...


...and crashed a playgroup for Dads in Wimbledon Park.


At home, his toys have taken over the living room, but he still prefers chewing on things like my travel mug.




There are some limits, though. I finally gave up chasing him away from the rubbish bins, and put a gate in front of the kitchen.


In addition to playdates with friends and daily webchats with our California relatives, we also had a lovely visit from S's parents.




If it looks like we spent the last month smiling and laughing, that's because we did...


A final thought: you may have noticed the blurry quality of many of these photos. Junior - AKA Mr Wiggly - is at that stage where it is very hard to catch him sitting still!

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Junior's Room

We moved Junior into his own room - sorry, S's office - at the end of July. Since S still has his desk in there, Junior doesn't spend much time playing in his room, but he has adjusted to sleeping in a full-size cotbed.



Grandmamasita made the bumper and sleepsack; S and I chose the robot and circuit board fabric online. I love it, and Junior seems pleased with the design as well.


The changing table matches the cotbed. It wasn't my first choice to have open shelves that could be reached by little hands, but the cabinet-style changing tables cost more than the bed. Instead, I bought zippered storage bags to try to keep things as safe and inaccessible as possible. So far it hasn't been a problem (see: Junior doesn't play in his room yet.)


I took the same approach with his shelves. I put his clothes, muslin cloths, nappies, etc, in storage boxes that can be used for other things as he grows.

The only other features are decorative, at this point.


Mobile with aliens and spaceships from his Aunt S

Star-shaped nightlight


I knitted this bear years ago (before I met S) when I made a baby blanket for a friend. I didn't have the heart to give it away, even though I wasn't sure I would ever have a child of my own at the time. Bear has patiently waited for Junior to arrive, and I think they both know that the other one is special.

And just in case there is any confusion over whose room it is, Junior has staked his claim:


Move over, Dad!